Everywhere he goes, songwriter and musician Paul Reisler is conscious of leading what he calls a 'musical life.'
“The thing I try to do is to live a musical life where I respond to whatever comes to me in a musical way,” said Reisler. “That’s how I’ve written some of these albums and songs.”
Reisler will perform at Grist Mill Park for the first time this Friday as part of the Mount Vernon Nights concert series.
The Virginia native has been a part of the national folk music scene for more than three decades. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition from George Washington University. He was the founder of Trapezoid, a folk music group that was popular in the 80's and 90's. He has 13 albums under his belt and has worked with other musicians on many more projects. Reisler's' current focus has been on composing music; he has a musical in the works.
Writing music is is Reisler's blood; he began writing songs at age 5.
“I heard songs on the record player and I would make stuff up,” said Reisler, who counts the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and classical music among his top influences.
“I have a lot of influences and I can’t particular point to one in particular who I copy because I try to develop my own voice,” he continued. “And in fact, I think developing your own voice is where you start to imitate yourself and become your biggest influence.”
Reisler's ultimate goal is to help budding musicians to live their own 'musical life'. In addition to holding songwriting camps for adults, Reisler has made it a point to help youngsters develop their own voices through his non-profit Kid Pan Alley, where he teaches kids how to write their own songs.
“Kids make the greatest songwriters,” said Reisler. “They’re born with a creative spark and you can tap into that easily with kids. You can’t with adults.”
Be sure to watch Paul Reisler perform at Grist Mill Park this Friday at 7:30 p.m.